Slow but positive outcomes emerging in post-COVID tourism revival: Shanthikumar

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Veteran hotelier M. Shanthikumar last week stepped down from his role as President of Colombo City Hotels with

Rohan Karr assuming the position of the new entity, Colombo Tourist Hotels Association (CCTHA).

Speaking at the meeting, past President Shanthikumar thanked the entire membership for the unstinted support given to him over the years but did not forget to remind members that the road ahead was to be extremely challenging.

“Though we thought the worst was over after the end of a 30-year conflict in 2009, little did we know that the future was to be even more challenging,” Shanthikumar said. 

He also said that the present crisis in Sri Lanka and the world has impacted tourism so badly that Sri Lankan hoteliers, who have shown resilience in the past, are unable to hold their operations together and are on the verge of collapse.

“However, a slow but a positive outcome is expected in the not-too-distant future with the borders opening,” he added.

Over 19,000 tourists have arrived in the country within the first two weeks of November, boosting the revival plans of the COVID-hit tourism industry. With the arrivals up to 14 November added, the cumulative tourist arrivals since the reopening of borders on 21 January is 80,310.

Shanthikumar said Colombo city, with the presence of international brands, reputed local hotel chains and other quality hotel products with the highest inventory in any region, should play a lead role in the revival process of tourism in the post-pandemic era and should set the benchmark for the rest of the country. 

He emphasised the need to drive revenue to get the right returns to investors/owners in the months to come.

By the end of 2023, Colombo city is expected to have approximately over 5,000 five-star hotel rooms and the largest capacity of meeting and banquet spaces of international standards. The city is expected to play an important role in attracting the MICE business to the country apart from attracting leisure and business traffic. This means the city will continue to hold its dominance even in the future with 15%-20% of the country’s inventory and the highest number of luxury rooms.

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Slow but positive outcomes emerging in post-COVID tourism revival: Shanthikumar | LankaTalks
 From left: CCTHA Treasurer – Mirage Colombo MD Prabath Fonseka, Past President – Ramada by Wyndham Director M. Shanthikumar, VP – Renuka Hotel MD Shibani Thambiayah, President – Hayleys Executive Director/Hayleys Leisure MD Rohan Karr and Secretary – Mövenpick Colombo GM Roshan Perera



Shanthikumar also said that Colombo city hotels can play a pivotal role in creating demand and reviving business in the coming months.

New President Rohan Karr is the present Hayleys PLC Executive Director/Hayleys Leisure Managing Director. A top professional and a veteran hotelier, Rohan has years of experience in hotel operations and management overseas in international hotel brands combined with his very successful contribution to the Colombo city during his tenure as the Executive Vice President of the John Keells Group and Sector Head of Cinnamon Hotels and Resorts, City Hotels, and managing the Cinnamon Grand. He is considered an ideal candidate to lead City Hotels during this very critical period in the tourism industry, a key forex earner for the country.

He assured he will work closely with the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) and The Hotels Association of Sri Lanka (THASL) for the betterment of the entire membership.

Rohan will be supported by the newly elected Vice President – Renuka Hotel PLC Managing Director Shibani Thambiayah; Secretary – Mövenpick Colombo General Manager Roshan Perera; Treasurer – Mirage Colombo Managing Director Prabath Fonseka; and past President – Ramada by Wyndham Director M. Shanthikumar.

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